This date has a great deal of historical significance. Few in the world are unaware of the events that drove 9/11/2001 into our psyches with an indelible stamp. Meanwhile, most people in the world are unaware of the events that we now call the Battles of Plattsburgh, culminating in the Sept. 11 conflict on Plattsburgh Bay in 1814.
It's not for lack of trying. Commemorations have taken place in this region for many years. As the 200th anniversary approaches, there is more and more local effort toward cementing the significance of Sept. 11 for us and those who don't live here. May I take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked so diligently toward that end.
There are other dates that evoke happy and sad memories for all of us. Some involve our nation's wars. Others invoke personal memories connected with the lives and deaths of family and friends. Still others are related to weather. I remember a horrendous hurricane that struck Rockland and Westchester counties when I was a child. A giant tree toppled in our yard. I pictured an angry giant pulling it out by the roots.
I recall terrible snowstorms when we lived in Massena Center with drifts piled to the top of the telephone poles. I won't soon forget the major weather events that have occurred since I began my radio career in Plattsburgh in 1961. Big snows; the infamous ice storm of '98; and 8-foot-tall ice jams behind our house in Morrisonville, causing floods in the community. During those frightening days, I often suspended regular radio programming and opened the telephone lines for hours. I wish I had recorded those conversations for posterity.
Times have changed. During Hurricane Irene's devastation in Clinton and adjacent counties, I was disappointed to note that it took several days for the national media to get the word that we were in trouble. In our modern world of instant communication, they just weren't told of our plight. It was almost like we didn't exist. I was afraid that help for those in need wouldn't be forthcoming in a speedy manner. By midweek, the word finally got out and we showed up on the big map.
I want to extend sincere gratitude to all those who volunteered, went beyond the scope of their jobs with various agencies and simply took time to check with neighbors, offering assistance toward recovery. Some of the stories have made it to local media. Many have not. If you know of situations where some guardian angel or other came through at the right time, please off thanks where thanks is due. For those who simply hunkered down and said prayers for others, you deserve to take a bow as well.
During the ice storm of 1998, my little "Genny the Generator" did a good job pumping basements and brewing hot coffee on the tailgate of my truck. I know you have similar stories from that time or in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. I have a friend who used his four-wheel-drive truck to drag many trees from roadways to render them passable. I know others who took their chain saws throughout neighborhoods and also loaded out their generators to those in need.
We are resilient and generous survivors. I never cease to be amazed at how adversity seems to bring out the best in our citizens. Thanks to all of you for setting our region apart by doing what you can to help yourselves and each other. We might not have much, but we do use the golden rule.
On this special date, let us remember where we were when we heard about 9/11 a decade ago. Let's all bone up on the powerful events surrounding the Battles of Plattsburgh in 1814. Let us be grateful for this great nation and become aware of how it got that way. Let us each make a commitment to take an active role in the effort to make things better for those who come after.
Have a great day and please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the "Our Little Corner" television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.